Small-scale spinach farmer supplies Africa’s biggest retailer

Source: Fresh Plaza

South African farmer Kipas Melodi started his business by spotting a gap in the market and through sheer luck he was aided by the buying team at Shoprite and Checkers. However, Melodi’s story began many years earlier, when he noticed there was a shortage of spinach at the fresh produce market in Hazyview, where he worked. He decided then that there must be demand for the product and started growing it in his backyard.

He began by selling his spinach to fresh produce markets and through hawkers – channels that made revenue collection and planting challenging and sporadic. But everything changed in 2012, when the entrepreneur started supplying a few crates of green beans and mielies to select Shoprite and Checkers stores in the region.

Melodi now regularly supplies green beans, chillies and butternut to hundreds of Shoprite and Checkers stores in the Gauteng region, and the working relationship with his buyer, Khutso Rapudubudu, means he is always kept informed. quoted Melodi as saying: “Khutso and the team give me information on market-related issues, and will suggest that I plant certain products when they have been scarce. They advise us on opportunities, letting us know when they are short of this or that, when farmers elsewhere couldn’t supply the products.”